Kilpatrick 'cool' with pocketing bribes

Kwame Kilpatrick outside federal court.

Kwame Kilpatrick outside federal court.

Star witness Derrick Miller said he split cash payments from a city contractor with Kwame Kilpatrick, who backed the contractor’s real estate deal.

In a blunt description of alleged bribery involving the former Detroit mayor, Miller testified about a real estate deal involving the firm Jones Lang LaSalle and an independent contractor, who was a friend.

The contractor pitched a deal to manage the city’s real estate portfolio and offered to split commissions with Miller.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow

Miller approached Kilpatrick and offered to give him a piece of the commissions, Miller testified.

“I said it could be good for us,” Miller said. “You know, it could be a windfall.”

“Not the city as a whole, but the two of you?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow asked.

“Yes,” Miller said.

After the deal was approved, Miller pocketed cash several times.

“How many times…? Chutkow asked.

“Multiple times. Multiple, multiple times,” Miller said. “More than 10.”

“Did you share any with the mayor?” Chutkow asked.

“Half,” Miller said.

“How would you give it to him?” the prosecutor asked. “In cash?”

“I would give it to him in person, in cash,” Miller said.

Derrick Miller

Derrick Miller

Miller said he told the mayor the cash came from the Jones Lang Lasalle deal.

“What would (Kilpatrick) say?” Chutkow asked.

The question startled Miller.

“He’d take it — what do you mean?” Miller said.

“Did he say anything?” the prosecutor asked.

“Cool,” Miller said.

“Did he ever reject the money?” the prosecutor asked.

“No,” Miller said.

“Did he ever tell you he can’t take this?” Chutkow asked.

“No,” Miller said.

Miller also outlined his guilty plea in connection with the corruption trial.

Miller faces up to 10 years in prison and a $200,000 fine after pleading guilty to bribery and tax charges.

Prosecutors have agreed to ask for less prison time if Miller provides substantial help. If not, they will push for 10 years.

Robert Snell
Robert Snell is the Detroit News federal courts reporter. He can be reached at rsnell@detnews.com or (313) 222-2028.